The Daily Times Newspaper

Japan Executes Three Death Row Inmates, First Executions Under Prime Minister Kishida

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Japan has executed three prisoners on death row. Local media have reported this based on sources, including the Ministry of Justice. These are the first executions the country has carried out since 2019, under the rule of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

 

Japan executed the three prisoners by hanging. One of those executed was Yasutaka Fujishiro, 65, who killed seven people in 2004, including his aunt and neighbours. In addition, 54-year-old Tomoaki Takanezawa and 44-year-old Mitsunori Onogawa were also killed by hanging. The men killed two casino employees in 2003, the Justice Department has confirmed.

Justice Minister Yoshihisa Furukawa said it was “extremely cruel acts, claiming precious lives for selfish reasons” at a press conference. Furukawa added: “As Minister of Justice, I have approved their executions, after every careful consideration of all considerations.”

In Japan, all executions are carried out by hanging. Prisoners are often only informed a few hours before when their execution will take place. According to human rights organization Amnesty International, the families of the detainees are usually not notified until after the hanging has taken place.

Human rights groups have long protested against the use of the death penalty in Japan, including the way it is carried out. They demand that these “practices be abolished”. The recent appointment of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was an opportunity to make progress on human rights in Japan

It was also the first execution under Kishida, and he was appointed as the new prime minister in October. “The recent appointment of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was an opportunity to make progress on human rights in Japan. But today’s horrific resumption of executions is a devastating indictment of this government’s lack of respect for the right to life.”, said Chiara Sangiorgio, Amnesty International adviser.

“After two years without executions, this feels like a missed opportunity for Japan to take long-awaited steps to abolish the cruel practice of the death penalty.”

There are currently more than 100 death row inmates in the country. Many years usually pass between the sentence and its effective execution by hanging. The last execution dates are from December 2019. It concerned a Chinese man who was convicted of the 2003 murders of four family members in the country’s southwest.

But a recent survey shows strong public support for the death penalty in Japan, despite criticism from abroad.

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